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Monday, November 27, 2017

A trip to Tokyo






                                       


                           A trip to Tokyo


“ I’m  going to Tokyo with Audrey on the 15th of November, “ our son, Andrew, informed us.

“Audrey wants to visit the Akihabara as she is an ardent fan of Anime.”

Having heard of anime, but without the slightest notion of the where about of Akihabara, I decided to Google –searched the place. According to Wikipedia, Akihabara is a common name for the area around the Akihabara Station in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. In the 1930s the place specialised in household electric products and came to be known as ‘Electric Town’. In the 1980s when household electronics began to lose their appeal Akihabara began to focus on computers and this brought in a  new type of consumers: otaku.  Otaku roughly translated means ‘fanboy’ or ‘fangirl’ and generally refers to one who is passionate about anime or manga. Akihabara began to cater to the needs of the otaku and came to be known world -wide as a centre for otaku culture. 

Below is an account of the trip to Akihabara as told by Andrew.

At Changi Airport




At Changi Airport


The long and much awaited trip to Akihabara had finally arrived and we waited patiently for the flight to Tokyo Narita Airport.


Akihabara



In the hotel room.


We took a train from Narita to Akihabara and after some inquiry managed to locate our hotel which was located along a side street near Akihabara station. Although the hotel was small it was neat and clean and conveniently located  within walking distance of the many stores selling anime books, toys and other paraphernalia .

The next  morning dawned bright and sunny without a hint of a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect day to take in the sights and sounds of the Akihabara and for Audrey to do her shopping. 




A blue sky above Akihabara district


 
The Akihabara is designed to create an atmosphere as close as possible to the game and anime worlds which can attract the otaku. The streets of Akihabara are dominated with anime and manga icons and cosplayers can be seen lining the streets to hand advertising leaflets to prospective customers. 



'What shall I get???"


Above, Audrey in one of the stores selling a wide range of anime goods. She is highly focused on the merchandise on display




Posing outside one of the shopping malls




Audrey and her friend strolling along the streets of Akihabara




Audrey with her friend



Audrey had made prior arrangement to meet a friend from Singapore who was also in Tokyo with her dad. 



Audrey and her friend at the gachapon


They were highly entertained by the 'gachapon or gashapon' , a vending machine that randomly dispenses capsule toys. Adults and children alike are attracted to the excitement of not knowing what toys they will get until the capsule is opened.




The interior of an 'Owl Cafe'




Giving the owl a gentle pat on the head



We visited an 'Owl Cafe' ( a new trend in Japan) , where we saw a variety of owls perching on bars. The dimly-lit room with plants and soft music playing in the background provided a conducive environment for the nocturnal birds. Customers are able to interact with the owls and are allowed to pat the owl's head.

Mt. Fuji and Hakone



On the second day we joined a local tour to Mt Fuji and Hakone district.  





As the coach made its way toward Hakone we took in the breath-taking view of the Japanese countryside.






When we arrived at the rest area we noticed the place was already packed with tourist buses and tourists were milling about the place.







We were all excited when we caught a glimpse of the iconic Mt. Fuji from our coach.













As we approached Mt Fuji a veil of clouds lifted to reveal her grandeur.







Blessed with a wonderful natural environment,spectacular scenery and abundance of hot springs Hakone is a major attractions in Japan. 







We went on a 15 minutes boat cruise on the placid water of Lake Ashi. The cruise offered stunning vistas of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Komagatake and other peaks in the distance.  







The last item of our tour was the Hakone Ropeway. This cable car service operates at one minute interval and on a clear day the seven minute journey to the summit of Mount Komagatake allows visitors to take the spectacular view of the crystal-clear, blue water of Lake Ashi and the grandeur of Mt. Fuji. 




A bird's-eye view of Lake Ashi

As the cable car made its way to the summit we got a bird's-eye view of the scenic Lake Ashi and the surrounding countryside.  



At the summit of Mt. Komagatake





Audrey with her  parka and face mask posing in front of the cable car station.. 


However, when we reached the summit of Komagatake it was windy and misty, and so  we hurriedly zipped up our parkas and Audrey donned her face mask to protect ourselves from the cold, biting wind. In the distance Mount Fuji was shrouded in clouds and mist and we felt slightly disappointed at not being able to take in its beauty.






The next day we visited the Shibuya shopping district. Shibuya is said to be the liveliest shopping neighbourhood in Tokyo and many of the department stores target young female shoppers. A visit to Shibuya is not complete without taking a walk across the Shibuya Crossing. When the lights turn red at this junction, they turn simultaneously, and pedestrians can be seen walking in every direction.


 






Above video shows pedestrians crossing the Shibuya Intersection from five directions. 




Soshen Book Tower





The interior of Soshen Book Tower



On the morning of the last day of our trip, we visited Soshen Book Tower which was just a stone's throw from our hotel. It was 7 or 8 floors of books, books and more books, covering topics from photography to trains, study guides to planes........but all was in Japanese! Audrey thought her search was in vain until she came across a shelf stacked with books on anime art. She actually found some of the artwork that she was looking for.



Below are some of the books Audrey bought from Soshen Art Tower and her anime art collection.





















It's time to bid sayonara to Tokyo.





Having a meal at Narita Airport before flying home. Of course, you have to take a snap of the food first. 









Ethan having an enjoyable time at the airport while waiting
for Audrey

Audrey's mum and her younger brother, Ethan,  were at the Changi Airport to welcome her home. 




Audrey and her friend dressed as an anime character in  Kiki's Delivery Service 


A few days after her trip to Tokyo, with memories of her Akihabara experience still fresh in her mind, Audrey and her friend attended an anime festival in Singapore. 

Listen to Kiki's Delivery Service soundtrack on Youtube.








































 






  





    







Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A trip to Seoul and Jeju Island, South Korea






A trip to Seoul and Jeju Island, South Korea.

As narrated by Lim Siew Leng



On the 15th of October 2017, I went with my sisters-in-law, Teck Neo and Boon Neo,  my nephew,  Loong Xern and his fiancee on a 8D6N packaged tour to Seoul and Jeju island.  Following the advice given by tripadvisor I brought along a jacket and ample warm clothing.  Later I found out the weather was not that particularly cold but on certain days we had to don extra layers of warm clothing because of the strong wind and rain.  

Below is the itinerary of our trip and photos of places we visited.

Day 1   Flight to Seoul

Day 2   Arrival in Seoul. Tour of Deoksugung Palace.
             Flight to Jeju Island. Visit to Teddy Bear Farm.

Day 3  Jeju :  Yongduam Rock, Mysterious Road, Seongsan Sunrise
                        Peak,  Songup Folk Village, Oaedolgae, Cheonjiyeon
                        Waterfall, 3D Trick Art Museum

Day 4  Jeju/ Seoul/ Nami Island/ Mt Sorak:
             Flight from Jeju to Seoul. Visit to Kimchi DIY Making + Korean
              Costume Experience.  Ferry ride to Nami Island. Daepohaeng
              Fish Market. Coach to Mt Sorak
Day5  Mt Sorak/ Gangwondo:  Mt Sorak National Park, Naksansa
            Temple, Daegwallyeon Farm ( DIY cheese making )

Day 6  Seoul: Everland, Namsan Octagonal Hall, Love Lock Wall,
                        Dongdaemun Market.

Day 7 Shopping, Musical Show


Day 8  Shopping. Flight to Kuala Lumpur.


After our arrival in Seoul we made a quick tour of Deoksugung Palace ground before taking a domestic flight to Jeju Island.


Deoksugung Palace


At the Palace ground































Colourful blooms adorned the pavement







JEJU ISLAND




Jeju Island is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. 



Seongsan Ichulbong or Sunrise Peak


Sunrise Peak is a tuff cone formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions.


























Trick Art Museum
 , Jeju






















































 




Teddy Bear Farm



Located in Sokcho the Teddy Bear farm gallery offers visitors a glimpse of  the unique lifestyle of Sokcho through teddy bears.










Dining with a teddy bear




Nami Island 




Nami Island is 63 km from Seoul and famous for its tree-lined roads. The trees were beginning to display their colourful foliage. It must be a see place for fans of Korean dramas, as this was the location for the film, " The winter Sonata". 






Ferry ride to Nami Island











































































A welcome sign in Bahasa Malaysia





























































Naksansa Temple







Bronze Buddha near the main entrance to Soeraksan National Park















Mt  Seoraksan National Park





The Seoraksan National Park is well known for its colourful foliage. Mount Seorak which is located in the park is the highest mountain in the Taebaek mountain range. We could not fully enjoy our trip to Mount Seorak because  the rain obscured  our view and the icy cold autumn wind made us shiver.  





























































It is early Autumn and the leaves are beginning to turn purple and yellow

























Daepohaeng Fish Market







































Safari Park in  Everland




















































A bear showing its basketball skill. Our tour guide told us it will perform when only it is in a good mood.



Everland Theme Park














































Namsangol Hanok Village 





























































Youtube : 'Ryu _ From the beginning until now'
From the Korean drana "The Winter Sonata" which was primarily filmed on Nami Island and Seoul.